China stocks ease as liquor giant Kweichow Moutai weighs

SHANGHAI, Oct 26 (Reuters) - China stocks fell on Monday, dragged lower by the country’s largest liquor maker Kweichow Moutai after it posted a slower-than-expected growth in the third quarter.

** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.72% at 3,254.54, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.5%. ** The consumer staples sector fell 1.48%. Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd dropped as much as 6.7% after the company said its net profit grew 11.2 billion yuan ($1.68 billion) in the third quarter, up 6.9% from a year ago, missing forecasts.

** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.44%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.45% and Shanghai’s tech-focused STAR50 index was up 1.54%.

** Investors now focus on a key policy meeting this week, starting Monday, where China’s top leaders will chart the country’s economic course for 2021-2025, seeking to balance growth and reforms to avoid stagnation.

** China’s Ant Group’s Shanghai listing was also on investors’ radar. The company could raise up to $17.3 billion in the Shanghai leg of the likely $35 billion dual listing, the world’s largest ever, sources told Reuters.

** Markets in Hong Kong are closed for a public holiday.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was barely changed while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.12%.

** The largest percentage losers on the Shanghai index were FuJian YanJing HuiQuan Brewery Co Ltd, down 9.081%, followed by China Film Co Ltd, losing 8.683% and Everbright Securities Co Ltd, down by 7.207%. ($1 = 6.6857 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith)